Cllr Leigh Redman, leader of the Labour Group on Somerset Council , has responded to last weeks Government financial announcement that will see Somerset get around £5 million, by calling it ‘a drop in the ocean when you look at our financial crisis’. Cllr Redman continued “Following the latest humiliating partial u-turn from our weak prime minister, it is still clear that this government is hell bent on forcing local government into deeper and deeper trouble. The chaos and incompetence at the heart of this Conservative Government is causing real problems for families in Somerset. Our NHS is on its knees, crime goes unpunished, and like all local authorities, our services are being put under intolerable pressure by ministers refusal to accept reality. Here in Somerset we are receiving around £67m less support from central government that we did under Labour and our overall spending power has fallen by some 55%.”
Cllr Redman (Labour, Bridgwater North & Central) continued “Now, just days before council sets the most difficult budget in years, and many months after the cross party LGA warned that soaring demand for social care and temporary accommodation was posing an existential risk to council budgets, the government has finally backtracked on its catastrophic Local Government Finance Settlement for 2024/25 and announced some extra funding – but it’s just more sticking plaster politics.”
“Our area is still not getting a fair deal – not fair for those who rely on our services and not fair in comparison to other parts of the country. This comes from a Prime Minister who promised Tory activists he would take money away from areas in need and give it to richer areas as a bribe to win their votes.
“The bottom line is that this emergency hand-out is an admission of total failure from an increasingly chaotic Conservative government that has sole responsibility for pushing so many local councils to breaking point over the last 14 years.
“What we really need is a government that has a proper plan. Our country needs the security and stability that only a new government can deliver. The only real solution is a General Election now.”